Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chilling: Colleges ramp up to find more men guilty in sex cases

Professor KC Johnson has a piece in John Leo's Minding the Campus called More Advice on Railroading Males in Sex Cases. He notes that the Association of Title IX Administrators  is “[s]eeking to build off the momentum from the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter” by holding a four-day training session “devoted to how to implement new, guilt-presuming sexual assault standards.”
If you think that’s too harsh, read on:

When colleges and universities use the "adversarial process" to deal with such complaints, the Association laments, ‘Justice is rarely done. Truth remains elusive.’ (Perhaps we should simply shut down the court system, as well.) . . . . [A]ccording to the Association's training guide, colleges need to use a ‘civil rights investigation model for addressing campus sexual misconduct’--which has the advantage, for those interested in overriding due process concerns, that it is ‘not police-led investigation, and it is not the same as investigating a student conduct violation.’
The topics make clear the one-sidedness of the session's agenda. (In addition to administrators, the Association invites "prosecutors, sex crimes investigators, magistrates, victim advocates and judges"--but not defense attorneys or civil liberties advocates.) Topics on how colleges should respond to sexual assault/harassment claims include such issues as ‘due process myopia’ and ‘is a hearing necessary?’ The list of ‘experts’ invited to train campus administrators includes Brett Sokolow, who rivals the notorious Wendy Murphy in the almost cheerful willingness with which he presumes guilt in sexual assault cases. As FIRE's Will Creeley has correctly noted, Sokolow has exhibited a ‘disdain for due process [that] echoes the worst instincts of the angry mob.’
We have also chronicled how colleges are expanding their definitions of sexual abuse to include sex acts that are, by any rational measure, consensual: The Legal Infirmities in Punishing Sexual Coercion.
Our college campuses are ground zero for the work we do here, and Prof. Johnson’s warning bell should be taken very seriously.